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August 23, 2007

Hinterland Diary

John Stoehr

The terrible consequences of the short-sighted management of daily newspapers . . .

Through this kind of management, they've told their employees they don't care about them, they've told their readers they don't care about them, and they've sold out their duty to serve as the Fourth Estate for a quick buck. But even more than that, these CEOs have justified it all by claiming it's their fiduciary duty to stockholders that's made them do it. I don't agree. To defend themselves under the guise of protecting the stockholders makes no sense. If people bought in at $50 per share and the changed economic realities mean that shares are worth only $40 apiece, squeezing out short-term profits to artificially raise the stock price only means that people are going to get screwed if they don't sell their stock in time. Is it a CEO's responsibility to help his current boss (read: shareholders) swindle his future boss (read: shareholders) by stripping all the future value out of a company? I don't think so, and I think what's happened is morally reprehensible.

From "Greedy Vultures: Why corporate management of daily newspapers spells disaster for the news business, community debate and our way of government" by Jeff vonKaenel, published in the Sacramento News & Review in December 2006.

Posted by John Stoehr at August 23, 2007 2:22 PM